I4.411 Instruments of variation (or deeds of variation)
IHTA 1984, s 142(1) provides that where, within the period of two years after a person's death, any of the dispositions of the property comprised in his estate immediately before his death, are varied, IHTA 1984 is to apply as if the variation had been effected by the deceased.
The way in which this provision fits in with the charge to IHT on death is as follows. Death is an event on which IHT is charged as if a transfer of value had been made and the value transferred by this transfer of value had been equal to the value of the deceased person's estate immediately before his death1 (see I4.101).
Death gives rise to testamentary or other dispositions, and these are relevant for determining if, and to what extent, the transfer of value made on death is exempt (see I4.201). IHTA 1984, s 142(1) is therefore mainly concerned with a variation (or disclaimer) of those dispositions which increases or decreases the amount of the estate that is exempt. It, together with IHTA 1984, s 17, also prevents variations from being lifetime transfers by the persons who make them.
Meaning of 'variation'
There has historically been a small difficulty in that IHTA 1984, s 142(1) does not explain what a 'variation' is in this context. A 'variation' could be interpreted narrowly as being connected with a deed of family